Jon Harrington continues his overview of Algoryn weapons
Weapons of the AI Part II – X- and Plasma Weapons
From ‘Mag guns & Plasma’ magazine – The Best Reviews this side of the Determinate
Note from the Editor
A few months after the ‘Mag Cannon’ incident (related in Part I of this two-part series), MG&P ‘zine was offered the chance to review the Algoryn range of X and Plasma weapons but with one condition: if we sent our top reviewer, Mat Faston, then he would only be allowed to fire the weapons if he went through an intensive, gruelling, week long preparatory course. We said that he would be delighted, which were not his exact words when he found out. However he did attend the course and was allowed to file the following review.
Thanks again to our sponsor, Algor Heavy Industries – “When the going gets tough the tough get HEAVY”.
Having spent a week of intensive training alongside the latest Algoryn recruits I was once again allowed back onto Cdr Speers’ firing range to review a range of mag rail-launched, or X- Weapons. As I entered I couldn’t help but glance at the newly built back wall. Cdr Speers caught me looking and mentioned, almost in passing, that he liked looking at his new, unmarked wall and wouldn’t it be nice if he could still see it at the end of the day?
With that warning I stepped up to the firing line and was handed an X-sling to strap onto my arm.
|X Sling||10||20||–||0||Blast D3, Special munitions|
I’d been using an X-Sling the previous week and originally thought they were somewhat underpowered but at close range the blast damage can cause chaos on a lightly armoured target. The ability to use Slingnet or Overload ammunition adds an extra layer of flexibility. The penetration on Overload is particularly useful against Ghar troopers, explained the Commander, though the short range for the weighty projectile can be a problem.
The next size up in X- technology is the Micro X Launcher usually found as part of the loadout in AI squads. Many squads even take two, simply because of the flexibility it gives them. Its range is almost as long as the mag gun in overhead mode, and it can be quickly switched into a direct fire mode using the same ammunition.
|Micro X Launcher – Overhead||10-20||30||50||0||OH, Blast D4, No Cover, Special munitions|
|Micro X Launcher – Direct||20||30||–||1|
I admit I struggled with the weight of this weapon and managed to fire my first shots into the ground just beyond the firing line. Spotting my problems the range office, Master Chief Marsdon, offered to show me how it should be used. In quick succession he fired 3 direct shots into a wall then dropped an overhead shot neatly behind it. He commented that it is a great weapon for flushing out an enemy from behind cover. Again it this comes with optional Overload or Slingnet ammunition.
Stepping across to the next bay, my arms still aching, I was pleased to see a base mounted weapon, in this case the ubiquitous X Launcher that can be found in service with most armies. The Algoryn version has been designed to be functional rather than aesthetically pleasing but it does exactly what it is supposed to do.
|X Launcher||10-30||60||120||1||OH, Blast D5, No Cover, Special munitions|
The 3 person crew greeted me and offered me the firing controls. Selecting a Ghar Scutter target peeking out from behind a building I fired the Launcher and was pleased to see that I got a direct hit, leaving just the smoking remains of the target. The crew leader then opened up a large ammo crate by the launcher. It was covered in a range of warning symbols and she explained that this was a selection of the special munitions available. Net is a beefed up version of Slingnet, creating a suspensor net to crush a target to teh ground, and along with Grip, Scoot, Arc, Scrambler and Blur makes the X Launcher a very versatile weapon capable of ruining your enemy’s day. I could summarise these special munitions:
- Grip is great for slowing down the opposition (forces Ag test),
- Scoot does something to a lifeform’s nervous system causing a flight or hide reaction (Units Run or go Down),
- Arc creates an energy sink that captures some of the rounds passing nearby (50% chance) and
- Scrambler drops aggressive nanites that affect intelligent armour (no Res bonus) and buddy drones (cease working).
I’d been close to a Blur round going off the previous week and it made aiming at anything particularly difficult (-D3 to Acc).
The D Spinner is a weapon unique to the Algoryn Assault squads and has 2 distinct modes of operation as well as enabling multiple H2H attacks.
|D-Spinner||H2H Only||–||–||Variable||2 Attacks, Variable Res/SV, Grenade|
With Master chief Marsdon’s help I shouldered the Distort Node backpack and selected the plasma shells. These are like small powerful grenades that only work at close range (SV 2). The Master Chief mentioned that to test the Distort mode you really require an opponent in hand to hand combat and I then realised why he was grinning as I saw his backpack, identical to mine. We squared off in the H2H area and I’d like to say I had a chance but every time I went in for the attack it was like he wasn’t there. I would try to hit him and find myself stumbling past or only catching him a glancing blow (+2 Res).
After catching my breath and a quick check over by the Med techs I returned to the range for an afternoon of Plasma fun. Whilst not a traditional Algoryn technology Plasma weapons have been enthusiastically adopted to give a wider choice of effects to the field Commander. First up was a standard Plasma Carbine.
|Plasma Carbine – Single Shot||20||30||50||2|
|Plasma Carbine – Scatter||20||30||–||0||RF2|
In single shot mode these weapons are great and I enjoyed taking big chunks out of an armoured target. For closer work, when you have a range of unarmoured opposition, the scatter mode comes into play. This rapid fire mode is not hugely accurate or powerful but twice the number of shots means double the chance to hit. As I was enthusiastically taking out a squad of Ghar Outcast targets I heard a noise from the next firing bay. I’m a trained reviewer and to me it sounded like a bit like a plasma carbine. Peeking round the corner I saw a squad of Hazard armour troops. Their carbines were plugged into the suits and looked significantly larger than normal. Master Chief Mahsdon was quick to pull me back indicating that this was Special Division equipment, undergoing upgrade tests. He wouldn’t answer my questions about the carbines but I’d say they were firing about 50% faster than normal (RF3).
Plasma Light Support
After the twin MLS, the PLS is my second favourite support weapon, nicely balanced and with a rate of fire similar to the Hazard carbines (RF3).
|Plasma Light Support||30||40||80||3||RF3|
The PLS packs a mighty punch and is really a great, flexible weapon in the field (SV 3). Mount a couple of these on your flanks and nobody is going to get past.
My final weapon for the day was the epic Plasma Cannon, only used by specialist support teams due to its lack fo reliability compared with the incredibly robust, Algoryn mag weaponry.
|Plasma Cannon||30||40||80||6||Plasma Fade|
Built like a supersized carbine this weapon is only single shot but what a single shot (SV 6). Ideal against heavily armoured vehicles it doesn’t have the range of a mag cannon but that extra power can make a difference in a tight spot. As I took control of the aiming system I noticed a small crowd had gathered behind me. They all looked innocent, as if they had just happened to be in the area, but I suspected they were making sure a repeat of the ‘Mag Cannon incident’ wasn’t on the cards. Taking extra care I aimed at the distant Ghar Command Crawler. With a crack the plasma cannon belched fire and the target blew apart spectacularly. I turned, acknowledged the crowd, stepped off the launcher and tripped over an ammo crate. When Master Chief Marsdon stopped laughing he helped me to my feet and suggested that better my dignity was damaged than the wall.
The weapons tested here neatly fill in the capability gaps of the mag weapons reviewed previously. They enable an Algoryn Commander to field a balanced force that is effective at any range.
Until next time this is MF signing out. Stay safe, stay armed and don’t forget our sponsor – Algor Heavy Industries.